Kym Grosso has become a personal favorite of mine.  I really can't wait until her next book comes out.  I can't help wondering who the main characters will be, wondering and hoping certain characters will be delved in more depth. I really liked Kade's maker and am hoping to see more of him!  Hope you guys enjoy as well!

Danielle

Review

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Man, she sure does have a way with endings.  The last scene of this book was just perfect.  And the last line?  Uh, poignant.  Sharp.  Lending a finality while promising so much more.
It didn't have as strong a beginning, but if you just read the previous book, it wouldn't much matter because you'd practically be foaming at the mouth to get to the book.

Tristan is so stubborn and dense, but in the most endearing of ways.  Kalli is a character you can really get into.  She's very complex and the author does a good job portraying how her past would influence the development of her character and personality, her fears and hangups.

Except for the last scene, the book's plot is fairly predictable -- you knew what was going to happen, if not when.  But I think the progression of the characters is more interesting anyway.  I loved the last scene.  And hated it.  I was devastated and shocked and angry and worried and unbelievably friggin' curious.  There's just got to be another book. 


blurb

An erotic paranormal romance…

Charismatic and powerful Lyceum Wolves’ Alpha, Tristan Livingston, is out for revenge after a devastating attack on his pack. Not only did he survive a building collapse, he orchestrated the rebuild of his chic, state-of-the-art nightclub within a week. Determined to mete out justice, he rescues a beautiful witness who may be the key to helping him find the perpetrators.

Dr. Kalli Williams, dedicated veterinarian, is hiding a secret that endangers not only her own life but the lives of wolves across the country. After being tortured by a savage vampire, she’s reluctantly agrees to help the sexy Alpha in his quest to identify suspects; ones who’d kill her on the spot if they knew she existed. As Kalli places herself in the hands of the dominant wolf, she soon finds she wants nothing more than to submit.

Tristan, committed to ruling his pack as a lone wolf, is inexplicably drawn to the mysterious and enticing woman, who seems more than human, but not quite supernatural. As he discovers her secret, he teaches her the meaning of trust, helping her learn how to be true to her nature. After living a lifetime alone, will he succumb to the visceral need to claim her, acknowledging the soul binding connection between an Alpha and his mate? And will he prevail against the menacing enemy who threatens to destroy Lyceum Wolves?

Amazon


reviews of the rest of the series...

Book 1: Kade's Dark Embrace

The story is fast paced, hard, ballsy, and frustrating (but in a good way).  The voice, the tone, of the story had a no-nonsense, hardened cop feel I just loved.  I can't help but like Sydney, who is about the most hardheaded person I've ever met.  She is everything that I just described the story as.  She is sexy and fun and I find it hilarious that every guy she's encountered so far in the book wants to screw her brains out.  And I loved that when the male lead turns her down, she decides to go and boink his friend.

Like a good mystery, the story keeps you guessing.  The author keeps the tension ramped the entire time, either with the case or with the ever growing sexual tension between Kade and Sydney.  

The only true fault I had with the book was with the first dead body - the floater.  The body was too new to be a floater.  Why was the skin slack?  A body that's a couple of days old is entering the first few days of decomp.  Bodies don't float until 8-10, under rare conditions starting at 7.  The body's skin doesn't become slack until after gas build up has dissipated, which is long after the floating stage.  So why was it called a floater?  Why didn't the coroner correct that assumption?  Why was she called a coroner when the city of Philadelphia has a Medical Examiner's office on 321 University Ave?  Why did she put the coroner's office in the same building as the police station when there is no medical examiner's office in the same building as a police station?  The closest I could find was a University Police Department.  But those are minor things that would probably only matter to you if you either lived in Philly or had experience in law enforcement.

As a word of warning, the ARC copy  I received had head hopping.  While this doesn't bother me, I know it bothers some, so I felt it only right I include that in my review.

In closing, this book had me glued to the "pages" the entire way.  Even with the initial inconsistency in the crime scene, this is definitely a five star read.

BN  ARe

Book 2: Luca's Magic Embrace

This book follows Luca and Samantha.  Luca is a cold, honorable, strong vampire who is determined to never fall in love.  Samantha is a recently turned witch who has a surprising ability to bounce back when beaten down.
Again, the author doesn't disappoint.  Luca's Magic Embrace, though the title sounds like something off a children's book, keeps you engaged the whole way.  Samantha is stubborn and a little in denial, but she's surprisingly strong.  She's an average woman dumped into a nightmare situation.  She just wants her life back.  She feels real.  Luca, like Samantha, is completely in denial, albeit of something entirely different.

The tone of this book is different than Kade's Dark Embrace and there isn't the same attitude.  Still, the mystery and the adventure in the book is there, the whodunit.  Someone is after Luca and Samantha and they need to figure out who and why.  There will be twists and at times my heart was in my throat, worried for the characters.

And like with Kade's Dark Embrace, I found myself itching for the next book. 


Amazon US  Amazon UK

about the author

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Kym Grosso is the author of the erotic paranormal romance series, The Immortals of New Orleans. Both of her novels, Kade's Dark Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 1) and Luca's Magic Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 2), are currently available via Amazon, digitally and in print. Tristan's Lyceum Wolves is scheduled for release on April 1, 2013.

In addition to romance, Kym has written and published several articles about autism, and is passionate about autism advocacy. She writes autism articles on PsychologyToday.com and AutismInRealLife.com. She also is a contributing essay author in the new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum.

Kym lives with her husband, two children, dog, cat and guinea pig. Her hobbies include autism advocacy, reading, tennis, zumba, traveling and spending time with her husband and children. New Orleans, with its rich culture, history and unique cuisine, is one of her favorite places to visit. Also, she loves traveling just about anywhere that has a beach or snow covered mountains. On any given night, Kym can be found reading her Kindle, which is filled with hundreds of romances.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KymGrossoBooks

Twitter: @KymGrosso

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5785692.Kym_Grosso

My Autism Website: http://www.AutismInRealLife.com


 
Wasn't sure I was going to be able to manage this today...  Parents came over for the weekend and this is the first I've hit my computer since Saturday morning.

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She spoke for the first time. “You’re the leader of the werewolf pack?”

“Yes,” he said, trying to discourage the blade from digging into flesh.

“Well then it’s a good thing I don’t have orders to kill you,” she said playfully, her mischievous smile stretching farther across her angelic face. His face went a shade paler, knowing the only thing between him and death was another's orders. This angel was more likely the angel of death. “I have a proposition for you.”

“A proposition?” 


Read the serialized version of Forever After from the beginning: Chapter 1.


Photo credit: Insight Imaging: John A Ryan Photography / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
 
Read on ReadWave.com
 

Excerpt

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Aphrodite Calling was my favorite of the three so I chose an excerpt from that novella...

Desire. He could sense it. Wafting up from below to his current vantage point on the landing. His shoulders wanted to slump, but he couldn't allow it. No matter how weary he was of this calling, he was a god. Their god. It was his duty to respond.

Perhaps his brother had the better idea. Reside with the gods, not the mortals, and come out to play only when the mood took him. That had been at the changing of the seasons, for Pothos. It was when Aphrodite's power was at its strongest and when they all felt the mating urge most intensely.

Himeros suspected that the seasonal visitation schedule was likely to change a little for Pothos, now that his brother had found his pair. A smile curved his lips as he recalled his brother's astonishment and joy, but then the smile faded.

There was no joy here, for him. No pair of lovers such as Pothos had found. No one to tantalize and entice him out of his lethargy. But he stayed anyway, hoping, searching. Answering the endless calls to Aphrodite from those seeking sexual gratification.

So. He squared his shoulders and looked down at the sea of mortals stretched out before him on the ground floor below. Which of them was the seeker this time?

He sampled the air, testing, and his fingers tightened on the handrail. There was something different about this one. Desire, yes. Stronger than any he had felt in years. For that alone, he knew he would answer this call. But the sexual nature of the desire was edged with more. So much more. A desire for... He frowned, slanted his head to the right, and focused his gaze on the person in need.

Well, well. This was one call he had never experienced. And he thought he'd seen it all.

Excitement rippled through his body, replacing the ennui to which he'd grown accustomed.

Sweet mother.

Aphrodite, could this possibly be the one?


Reviews

I like what I like most about these stories so far is how completely accepting they are of people or ideas that are outside the norm.  These stories are short, not allowing a lot of time for character development or much plot.

The first novella, Platinum Passion, read a lot like any other MMF erotica.  Though, I did like how the menage was portrayed as sort of an extension of a loving marriage, rather than major kink (even though there was plenty of that!).  She is completely unwilling to go further without her husband.

I really loved the female lead, Gina, in the second novella, Aphrodite Calling.  There was a lot of depth into her neuroses, fears and insecurities and I think the author did a fairly good job of portraying a transgender individual, even if I've never met one (that I know of).  The story got me curious about a subject I'd never really taken much interest in before.  Sure, I've known homosexuals, and transgenders have always been a curiosity to me, but I never really tried to understand it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  This story was about emotional renewal.  Loneliness and isolation that is so often the case when you're a little bit different, not quite the norm.  Everyone tries to shove you in a box, expecting you to fit, frequently not realizing how much they hurt you in the process.

The third novella, Sex Club Secrets, was an interesting take on a bisexual individual, but I think what I liked most about the story was not that, but the emotional progress of the god, Anteros, which wasn't delved into that much during the story.  I was so happy when they accepted him and wanted more from him. 

Blurbs

The Greek gods of desire are skilled at satisfying the erotic needs of mortals who cross their path. But where do the gorgeous erotes turn for sexual healing when loneliness strikes at each eternal yet world-weary heart?

Together for the first time in one anthology collection, these three critically acclaimed novellas show that even the gods themselves are not immune from the influence of love.

Platinum Passion

A night of ménage a trois passion will change three lives forever. Jeannie and Jake's platinum anniversary becomes an unforgettable experience when Pothos, god of sexual yearning, steps in to save their twenty-year marriage.

Aphrodite Calling

A god of sexual desire on the edge of burnout meets a woman with a unique and secret past…In the arms of transsexual woman Gina, has Himeros finally discovered the one with whom even a god of love could find fulfillment?

Sex Club Secrets

Sometimes love can flourish in the most unexpected places. Ella and her bisexual best friend Kade meet the erotic god Anteros in a celebrated sex club—but the challenges facing these potential friends-to-lovers could prove too much for the god of requited and unrequited love.

Content suitable for adult readers only.

About the author

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Jennifer Lynne is multi-published in sensual and erotic romance and writes from her home in Melbourne, Australia. She has a degree in literature and media studies and has worked as a business writer and journalist for companies both large and small. She has even worked in an optical store! She lives in hope that readers will continue to enjoy her novella-length tales of love and lust.

Website/blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


P.S. The author will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly selected commenter on her book tour, so feel free to hit up the other tour stops...

April 15:  Books to Light Your Fire
April 16:  Rachel Leigh
April 17:  Bitchesbewritin
April 18:  The SkylarVerse
April 19:  The Eternal Scribe
April 22:  Harlie's Books
April 23:  Wicked Readings by Tawania
April 24:  We Love Kink
April 25:  Francesca's Mindstream
April 26:  Long and Short Reviews
April 29:  You Gotta Read Reviews
April 30:  Unabridged Andra
May 1:  Sharing Links and Wisdom
May 2:  From Me to You ... Video, Photography, and Book Reviews
May 3:  All I Want and More
 
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Gladie Burger is the heroine of the Matchmaker Series. I recently asked her to tell me about a typical day in her life. This is what she told me…

Yes, I have to admit my days were a lot more boring before I moved to Cannes, CA to work in my grandma’s matchmaking business. It used to be I would get up, brush my teeth, get dressed, go to work, come home, watch TV, and go to sleep.

Of course, I moved around a lot and switched jobs like some people switch toilet paper rolls, but otherwise, it was a pretty boring life. And safe.

Since I moved in with my grandma a few months ago, I have had men chase me, murderers chase me, and once a dog chased me—but that was because I was carrying Grandma’s order of ribs, and who doesn’t like ribs?

When I’m not stumbling on to dead bodies, here’s a pretty typical day for me:

7:00 AM: I wake up if my alarm clock is working, but I got it on sale at a thrift shop, and the wire is a little frayed and sometimes it turns off in the middle of the night if I turn too much in bed and jiggle the wire. So, if it doesn’t go off, I wake up around 9:00 when my grandma comes in and tells me that contrary to popular belief, love blossoms in the morning, not the night, and I better get cracking if I’m going to be in the love business.

7:15 AM: (if I didn’t jiggle the wire): I take a shower and wash my hair with this fabulous coconut-smelling shampoo my friend Lucy gave me during her travels for work. She’s in marketing, whatever that is.

7:30 AM: I always put on mascara, no matter what, and usually I wear workout clothes, even though I haven’t worked out since I moved to Cannes. (Note to self: start yoga. Everybody does yoga but me.) I try to tame my hair with gel/mousse/serum, but it mostly does what it wants.

7:45 AM: Eat breakfast with Grandma. Usually bagels are involved. “Dolly,” she’s said. “Bagels are indispensable. Like toothpaste. And eyeliner. And control top pantyhose.”

8:15: Follow Grandma around and help her with whatever singles class she’s hosting.

11:00: Give up on class, wonder if I’ll ever be a successful matchmaker, go to pick up lunch for Grandma from one of her favorite fast food places and stop at Tea Time for a much needed latte.

11:15: My credit card gets declined, and I scrounge coins from the bottom of my purse to buy a latte. Ruth calls me a “reprobate.” As soon as I get a dictionary, I will be upset she called me that.

12:00: Pick up ribs/fried chicken/tacos for Grandma but am stopped by hunky police chief Spencer Bolton. “What are you up to, Pinkie?” he asks me and then tries to look down my blouse. “You are five years old,” I tell him. He leaves to fight crime.

12:15: My car won’t start. I call AAA and eat the ribs while I wait. Sexy yumminess Arthur Holden jogs by and sees me. “Hi,” he says and sticks his head through my car window. I have bbq sauce on my face but nothing to clean it off with. He doesn’t care. He kisses me, and my eyes roll back in my head. He jogs away, and I realize I’ve forgotten to tell him my car won’t start, but I’m feeling no pain. My uterus is humming love songs.

1:30: AAA doesn’t show up, and I decide to walk home. On the way I stumble on a dead body. I scream. I pass out.

1:40: I wake up. The dead guy is still there. He has a bullet wound to his head. I think: Why me? Why am I a magnet for death? I call Spencer.

1:42: Spencer arrives. “Are you kidding me?” he asks me, as if I drag in dead bodies from neighboring towns just to piss him off.

1:45: Spencer warns me not to get involved with the murder case.

1:46: I get involved with the murder case.

1:50: Spencer gets a police officer to drive me home.

2:00: I arrive home with no food, but somehow Grandma knows and has ordered in food, herself. We sit in the kitchen with the food, and my friends Lucy and Bridget come over and talk about the murder. They ask me if I know who the murderer is. I don’t.

3:00: Grandma takes a nap. Someone comes over and tries to kill me.

4:00: The gardener saves me with his pruning shears. Now there’s two dead bodies.

4:10: Spencer arrives and reads me the riot act. Holden comes over and rubs my back and asks if I’m okay. I realize the murderer wasn’t working alone, but I don’t tell anybody.

5:26: I solve the crime. I know who killed who and why and how (wouldn’t you like to know?). Spencer yells at me for getting involved and looks dreamily into my eyes, making me hyperventilate. Holden takes me out to dinner, pushing Spencer out of the way.

7:00: I choke on a chicken bone at dinner and go home early. Grandma has hot cocoa waiting for me, and she tells me I have “the gift”. Spencer unexpectedly shows up, grabs a root beer, and sits down at the table with us. He gives me the rundown of the aftermath of the murder case.

10:15: I kick Spencer out, even though he offers to make me levitate if only I would let him into my bed. I think about this offer.

10:28: I go to bed. Good night! Sweet dreams!


An affair to dismember

Certain to appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich, Jennifer Crusie, and Katie MacAlister, Elise Sax’s hilarious series debut introduces matchmaker-in-training Gladie Burger, who stumbles into a dangerous quagmire of murder and red-hot romance.

Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her eccentric Grandma Zelda recruits her to the family’s matchmaking business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. What’s more, Gladie is also highly unqualified, having a terrible track record with romance. Still, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has “the gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.

When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head—with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued—either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?


Amazon | BN | Wal-Mart | BooksAMillion


Praise for An Affair to Dismember

“Elise Sax’s new Matchmaker series is off to a rousing start! . . . Sax gives the comic mystery genre a new spin. . . . A fun read sure to entertain.”--RT Book Reviews

“Fans of laugh-out-loud romantic suspense will enjoy this new author as she joins the ranks of Janet Evanovich, Katie MacAllister, and Jennifer Crusie.”--Booklist

“Elise Sax will win your heart.”--New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis

“In the tradition of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Elise Sax’s new novel is a funny, sexy ride.”--Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind

“What a fun book! It will leave readers begging for more.”—Kim Gruenenfelder, author of There’s Cake in My Future


about the author

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Elise Sax worked as a journalist for fifteen years, mostly in Paris, France. She took a detour from journalism and became a private investigator before trying her hand at writing fiction. She lives in Southern California with her two sons. An Affair to Dismember, the first in the Matchmaker mystery series, is her first novel. 




http://elisesax.com/

https://twitter.com/TheEliseSax

http://www.facebook.com/theelisesax

http://youtu.be/sox1nLfSEmY

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elise-sax/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766108.Elise_Sax



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review

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if the main characters were thoroughly frustrating at times.  They made me smile and laugh most of the time.   And I thought it was hilarious how, this one time, she agrees to have sex with him to prove she doesn't want to have sex with him.

The story is largely about the two of them getting in touch with who they really are deep down.  He's lived his entire life to other people's expectations, so much so that he hardly knows who he is anymore.  Her life has been one hardship after another to the point her self worth in other's eyes is marginal at best.

Gia is a fairly complex character.  It would be easy to stereotype her as the trampy, tattooed, says what she wants, doesn't care what anyone thinks type.  Except, the author delved more into her psyche than that.  Too often, people like that are more insecure than you'd think.  For example, I dress the craziest, act the craziest, when I'm at my most stressed.  I use that exterior to hide my inner insecurities like armor, like a shield.  Gia is much the same.  She has a mentality that says better to be alone than rejected.  She'd rather push everyone away than have someone close to her look down on her or think ill of her.  She confides in people she has no vested interest in rather than friends (I can relate as I can easily strike a conversation with a stranger at the bus stop but rarely speak among friends).  She wants a relationship with Josh, but her insecurities tell her it can never work.  She doesn't feel worthy of him and projects that same feelings into her friends.

One thing I think is somewhat hilarious is that, while she doesn't want anyone to know  that they're sleeping together, increasingly more of their friends know how he feels about her because, while he's keeping the secret of their relationship, he can't hide other things from them, how he feels.  When she's messing with his head, for example.

And talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.  She decides how the relationship is going to end and everything that happens MUST be a result of that.  They weren't meant to be together.  Sure, she screws with his head on purpose, purposefully trying to push him away, push him into the little box she's decided he belongs in.  And when he doesn't conform to her little box?  She shoves him in it anyway.

One thing that made no sense to me was how is her crying and in pain was his fault.  She's the one that started all this!  She's the one that caused her own pain.  He wasn't the cause of her  pain.  She blames him but she caused it.  Why is he sorry?  I don't understand this!

Though frustrating (and Gia's logic can be confusing, twisted and backwards at the best of times), I felt the depth of characters, especially Gia's, really made this story.  The flaws and irrationality actually made the story more realistic.  I saw a lot of my own insecurities and habits in Gia, which made it so much easier to relate to her, even if I was pulling my hair out with how much she tortured him throughout the book until she finally accepted her own self worth. 


book description

She is pierced, dyed and tattooed born on the wrong side of the tracks. He is a traditional white knight born of the proverbial silver spoon. Their meeting was an accident, the fact that they became even the most tentative of friends, an anomaly. The only real thing they had in common... chemistry. Lots of chemistry. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough and Gia knew it. Now, if only she could convince her body...

Josh had always walked the line, lived the life he was expected to live. He had, by all accounts, the perfect life; a corporate lawyer, a beautiful home, a family empire to run, and the perfect fiancee. He was well on his way. The only question he had... was that really where he wanted to go? Plagued by dreams, Josh fought all his natural instincts, denying not only what he truly wanted but who he was deep down inside. Until one crazy night when he gave in to his desires...

Could these two polar opposites have more in common than even they realize? 


Kindle - Hidden Depths - Kindle Edition
Paperback - Hidden Depths Paperback

about the author

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I am often asked; who is Aubrianna Hunter?  And the truth is the answer isn't a simple one. Beyond being a dedicated wife and mother, I was raised by a Marine, and married into the Navy. 

Needless to say I can go toe to toe with the most sarcastic people you have met, and can dish insults and curse with the best of them.  I blurt wildly inappropriate things at precisely the moment when the room goes quiet, so much so that my co-author has nicknamed me Ted... Yes... After the bear in the movie. 

Recently my husband has replaced calling me crazy with calling me "Creative", but the tone he uses to do it makes me question his sincerity.  Though honestly, crazy is probably closer to reality.  I like my hectic life, in fact I thrive in the chaos and would have it no other way.

Amazon Link | Twitter | Facebook Fan Page | Aubrianna Hunter - Blog


 
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Some of us who have chosen to write fiction come from a variety of places. And by “a variety of places,” I’m not referring to a physical location; I’m referring to our writing experiences.

There are some of us who have enjoyed writing since we were children, and each year, by writing something in school, it improved. For some of us, it continued until we graduated college and began working. Some of us entered the work force taking jobs, which required us to write, whether it was procedures, handbooks/manuals, or news stories. But all of these are non-fiction, and each one has a set of “rules” that need to be followed to write something well enough to be acceptable.

As for myself, while my regular job did not require me to write, for eleven years I wrote articles [commentaries/viewpoints] of what was happening in my community and my feelings about it. When I started to write these items, my writing skills were not honed. I didn’t have my ideas organized in a tight manner, although my writing had been informative. By the time I’d written my last item, I’d become quite adept at it.

When I started to write fiction, I somehow drifted to writing a contemporary romance story with a paranormal element running through the storyline, but after almost 9 years I still hadn’t completed it. That is, until someone suggested I should write for a much younger audience, which is what I did, cumulating in my first YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel entitled I Kissed a Ghost.

Anyway, making the transition from non-fiction to fiction, I’ve had to learn a new set of rules on how to write. Most of these involved dialogue, showing not telling, where before I just told. I now had to learn about the use of tags. I had to learn not to be overly descriptive of something, but allow my reader to create the image for themselves in their minds. In the beginning I found it hard to break my old writing habits. Now I’m finding myself with these habits essentially gone. The biggest issue I still have and am trying to get a good handle on, is POV [Point of View]. Regardless of what’s happening or being said it has to be in one character’s perspective, and you can’t flip-flop between two characters within a scene. There needs to be a transition from one character to another.

All these things have helped me mold myself into the author I’m today. I’ve also learned there are additional rules within a genre, depending on the sub-genre you’ve decided to write in. These rules apply to the dialogue spoken, which needs to be true to the time period you’re writing in, as well as how your characters are dressed, and their titles, if any, as is the case with the regencies sub-genre of romance novels.

So as you can see, writing is not merely a string of words you put together. There are rules that need to be followed if you’re to be well received by your readers.  

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m a retired NYC civil servant who has been married for 19 years with no children. We have two cats, a senior Maine Coon with diabetes, and a 10 year old calico. For my second romance novel I’ve returned to writing the Contemporary romance I wrote about in my post.


I Kissed a Ghost is available on Amazon.
The Kindle version should become available around April 24, 2013.

If anyone would like to read several UNEDITED SNIPPETS from the book you can find under the category of “GHOSTLY WHISPERS” on any my blog sites:   

http://www.mypennameonly.blogspot.com | http://www.mypennameonly.webs.com  

You can also find me on:

Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Tumblr | Wordpress Blog

 

Review

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The first half of this book starts out slow, confusing and frustrating.  I liked the first scenes and they drew me right into the book, but then I sort of slogged through until about 50-60% of the way, which was when it really started kicking in.

A lot of the story was pretty predictable (even many of the twists).  There was one thing I never saw coming, only really figured out what they had planned as it was happening and then I was thinking, "Oh shit, he's doing that?  We're screwed!"  And by "we," I mean the good guys.  I really liked that part.  It was probably my favorite part of the book.

One interesting aspect of the book is that, like with many ancient myths, there isn't a whole lot of happy endings.  Things just get really messy, really bloody, and while things work out in the end, it's sort of a conditional good ending.  I guess, really, that's a good and bad thing in the book.  I got pretty invested in some of the characters only to see them go through great pain and/or die.

Other than how slow the first half of the book was (I trudged through it and only because I promised to review it), I was a little frustrated with him constantly using terms without explaining them.  I know more about Islam and Muslim culture than the average American and I was constantly stumped by words he used.  He also frequently used spellings I'd never seem before (or rarely seen).  For example, though I have seen Ra spelled Re, I have never seen Set spell Seth (even though it is an alternate spelling and that's probably just my ignorance).  Didn't realize they were one and the same until I looked them up, and I used to be fascinated with Egyptian culture.  Even at one time learned to write using hieroglyphs.  I'm not sure if his writing Najjal for the Islamic "anti-christ" was a typo or just a mistake since it is actually Dajjal.

I also had a hard time reconciling true myths and roles various gods played in them to the myths in the book, though I largely attributed that to artistic license.  For example, Seth is not evil.  He doesn't even represent evil.  He represents chaos and I think the story would have been much more interesting if the author capitalized on that distinction.  Also, Seth is responsible for sending the dead onto the afterlife, which made it weird that, in the book, he required sacrifices that prevented people from entering the afterlife.  Sobek, associated with Seth in the book, was actually companion to all in the Egyptian myths.  He didn't choose sides but aided Seth, Isis, Horus, and Ra.  He was actually closer associated with Horus than Seth (who was his father in some myths).  Just some interesting little tidbits.  I'm no expert.

The last scene is the only time in the entire book that I laughed.  In closing, the story was dark, complex, and with engaging characters.  Some might not have had as much trouble with the first half that I did.  I might have just been in a mood.  Who knows.  If you're a stickler for Egyptian mythology, I'd say stay very, very far away.  Other than that, it's a decent book.  The second half was spectacular and will have you emotionally involved with the events and characters.  Lots of action, intrigue, and mystery.


Book Description

Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.

Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.

To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.

When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.

“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.

“'24 Bones' is a winning debut. It's well-written and well-plotted, studded with drama, action, history and mythology. There's even a little romance. The conclusion is thrilling with the final outcome of the battle between good and evil held over until the very end...leaving you guessing until that very last page.” SF Crowsnest.


about the author

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After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

www.michaelfstewart.com

https://twitter.com/MichaelFstewart

http://www.facebook.com/mikefstewart

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2969126.Michael_F_Stewart

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6567858-24-bones


 

blurb

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The darkness is still, silent. Jackee Maren's heart pounds reverberating through her body as fear sears her veins. Someone's coming. No way out. This time they will kill me. Her breath is short, her chest burns. Must run. Faster. Faster! Her eyes fly open, her heart still racing with blinding fear. Jackee breathes deeply with relief and stares at the ceiling desperately trying to calm herself. The same dream. Something, someone is watching . . . and waiting.

A tragic car accident leaves beautiful, vibrant Jackee Maren completely paralyzed, able to move only her eyes. Jackee's husband, Phil, is devastated and her two young boys left with nothing but a shell for a mother, but still, Jackee senses the foreboding of an evil presence and knows time is short. Slowly, Jackee learns to communicate with her physical therapist, Kevin, by blinking her eyes. As evidence comes to light that her car accident was no accident, Jackee knows she must expose the person who wants her dead before they get a second chance. While Jackee works to put all the clues together, she discovers she has the ability to sense the thoughts of others, but she hides this talent from everyone but her sons, not knowing who she can trust. By actively exercising her new psychic ability, Jackee finally learns who masterminded the accident but feels helpless to stop them from trying to kill her again. Slowly a plan forms to not only ensure her boys are safe forever, but to exact revenge on her would-be murderer. Jackee vows not to rest until this killer understands what it is to be TRAPPED!

BUY LINKS: 

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-ebook/dp/B00A6Z59ZU/

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-George-A-Bernstein/dp/1599304090/



Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Turn signal flashing, she eases into the right lane in front of a large, battered pick-up, with less than a half-mile to the Old Orchard Exit Ramp. Jackee Maren rarely drives so aggressively, but first delayed by her two sons’ late departure from school, and then navigating around a minor fender bender on Dundee road, she is already ten minutes behind, and she’s never late. The Northern Illinois Chapter of the United Way won’t start their planning session without their chairwoman, and Jackee hates the idea of keeping so many busy people waiting.

Peeling onto the ramp, her attention is drawn to her two boys, bickering and shoving in the back seat. Glancing back at the road, a ridge of goose bumps cascades down her spine. They’re hurtled toward a string of glaring taillights… cars unexpectedly stopped by a red light at the first intersection off the expressway.

Jamming a foot on the brakes, she’s stunned when the big Mercedes slews sharply right, smack into the path of the huge pickup truck, which had exited behind her. It slams into the rear fender of the sedan, sending it careening off the road, the seatbelts gouging her shoulder, crushing the breath from her lungs.

“Hang on boys,” she gasps. Oh God! My sons! They can’t die here.

They spin down the embankment like an eccentric top, ricocheting off a bridge column. The wheel torn from her grip, the air filled with the screech of rending metal and the stench of burning rubber, the car rears like a great angry beast, its rear legs hamstrung. Slamming down, it hurtles backward into the culvert, bucking and skipping along the steep embankment.

Despite seatbelts, Jackee is flung around like a rag doll in the jaws of some huge terrier. The air bag erupts in the midst of their tumultuous downward plunge, rushing out at 200 MPH, just as frontal impact slings her forward.

Her face catches the brunt of the blow, skewering lips on her teeth, smashing her nose. A searing bolt of pain fires across her brain, igniting a burst of red heat behind her tearing eyes. A sharp pitch right crushes her left cheek against the window, knocking her momentarily senseless. The sedan teeters, enveloped in a cloud of dust, hunkering precariously on its haunches before crashing down on its wheels, coming to a thunderous, grinding stop.

She awakens to wailing and blubbering from the two small boys in the rear seat.

“Mommy!” The call gasped through ragged breathing.

“Mommy!” Now a frantic screech.

“I’m…I’m here.” We’re alive! Thank God, we’re all still alive.

She sags against the seatbelt, every joint singed with agony, unable to will herself into action.

Help should be coming. She moans.  Gotta hang on… She slips out of consciousness.

The continued bawling and moaning of her sons stir her, drawing her out of the fog of semi-consciousness. One of her eyes is swollen shut, but the other flickers open, glazed with shock.

Where the Hell’s Fire/Rescue.

She winces, her whole body racked by pain.

Seems like we’ve been trapped down here for…

The warble of a fast arriving rescue vehicle answers that question. She closes her eye, struggling to control the thunder in her head and the molten bands of fire across her chest.

“Lady? You with me?” A hatchet-faced EMT materializes at the shattered passenger-side window. She strives to focus on the man, who is futilely struggling with the door.

“Malcolm, Bryan,” the words slurred through blood stained lips. “Sons…back seat…”

“Yeah, they’re still strapped in. We’re gonna take care of everybody, but it’s you I’m focused on.”

Jackee’s head lolls forward, her emerald eye fluttering closed as she struggles to remain conscious. The swell and ebb of her breast confirms that, while battered, she still lives. Her sons in the back continue their chorus of terror, though it’s winding down to a pattern of whimpers as their surge of adrenaline burns out.

 “Can’t budge this damned door,” the EMT, grunts. He’s joined by his thick-shouldered partner, hefting a crowbar.

“Move over and give me room to work.” forcing one end of the steel into the jamb, struggling to lever it open, he glances at his partner. “Those kids look okay?”

“Probably. All that loud wailing is a good sign, but we’ll check ‘em out once we get everyone free. The woman’s obviously suffered some airbag trauma and…Oh, oh, she’s coming around.”

Jackee’s eye blinks, her head inches up, and she tastes the blood oozing from her nose and lips.

“Oohhh. What…what…” She makes a feeble effort to turn her head.

Oh! My sons. The brakes…bad crash…are they…?”

“Mommy.” Malcolm’s voice a hoarse squeak. “Are you hurt? We’re okay, I think.” His voice and Bryan’s whimpering through ragged breathing is reassuring.

Thank God. So close. Don’t know how I could…” She sags, her thoughts fading again.

“We’re gettin’ nowhere with this bar.” He looks back.

“We need the hydraulics down here, and in a fuckin’ hurry,” he screams up at the road.

“On the way. How ‘bout a power saw now?”

“No way. Too dangerous.”

Ten minutes later, a hydraulic pry bar dispense with the door. Frantic minutes drag by as they disentangle Jackee from the air bags, and her two sobbing, shaken sons, from their seatbelts.

Jackee smells the fuel that continues to seep from the ruptured tank, pooling beneath the wreckage.

Fire…or worse…is an eminent threat.

She floats to full awareness. Her body is festooned with welts, and her face feels like she’d gone ten rounds with Joe Frazier. Strapped to a gurney, her head and neck immobilized, one medic checks her vitals, which, despite her tattered façade, are surprisingly robust.

“Looks like you’re gonna be okay, lady. Got someone you want me to call?” he asks.

“Husband. Phil Maren.” Mumbled with a thick lisp over a swollen tongue and lacerated lips.

“North Chicago Printing. In city. My sons?”

“They’re shaken and bruised, but don’t seem to have any major problems. We’re checking ‘em out now. They’ll come to the hospital as a precaution, and your husband can pick ‘em up there.

Moments later the ambulance races toward Skokie Valley Hospital.

A freak thing. Was it the brakes? Phil just serviced the car.

She sighs.

How did it…?” She slips off into a sedative induced slumber.

Jackee Maren had no idea that this terrifying accident was but a small taste of the true horror soon awaiting her. 


 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Where am I?

Intense, deep-cave blackness envelops her…smothering, almost thick enough to touch. She seems adrift, suspended a pool of dark, still water.

A bath? That doesn’t make sense.

Despite a shroud of absolute darkness, she senses herself rising, finally breaching the inky surface, floating weightlessly.

And she is awake.

What was that? A dream? It seemed so real!

Jackee Maren lay very still, confused by the eerie perception of bobbing gently on tepid, calm waters.  Despite a sense of warmth lapping at her, she shudders.

 What’s happened to…Oh… how stupid of me.

My surgery! It’s finally over. Five months since the accident, and breathing hadn’t gotten any easier. But why is it so... so dark in… where? A recovery room?

Why have they left me alone?

A pungency unique to hospitals floods her with unpleasant memories: momma, daddy, and her own last visit. Not a happy moment in the bunch.

Icy tentacles caress her spine, kindling a mountain range of goose bumps.

What’s going on? Why... oh...

Voices murmuring, bare whispers, apparently close by. What are they saying?

Spooky, laying here in this... this black place. Why haven’t they taken me to my room?  Phil’ll be worried.

Won’t he? He promised to take time from work to care for their sons… to be supportive for a change… while she recovers from this reconstructive facial surgery he seemed so eager for her to have. She shivers, momentarily reliving that scary car accident.

Spinning, lurching, crashing down that embankment. The shriek of rending steel.

God, it was terrifying.

The boys tussling in back, and I was distracted, worried at being late… and wondering about Phil’s frequent late nights. He was seldom home evenings before then. But that changed after I spun the Mercedes into that ditch.

Whatever. That was then. Gotta figure out the now… why I’m still in Recovery. Get someone’s attention. If she moves, will stitches tear? The undercurrent of voices pulls at her.

Why are they whispering?

She shivers again, her skin peppered by an icy sleet of uncertainty.

Has something happened... something bad? No one’s here... no one to check on me. Did something go wrong?

Oh God, it must be terrible!

Her heart tumbles, skipping into high gear. This crushing darkness robs her of any sense of place.

Maybe I’m dead, locked away in the Morgue, lying on a slab, waiting to be cut up? It’s so black, and they.... Oh, shut up!

Jeez, it was only reconstructive surgery after the accident. Dead people don’t lie around, thinking. Always ready to worry if there’s a little hitch somewhere. Nothing bad happened. Still, I’ve gotta get someone's attention.

Hey! Why didn’t I see that before?

How had she missed what was right in front of her… two shaded windows, a bare sliver of light glimmering at their lower edges. Dare she move, seeking aid? Still stymied by the strange aura of weightless floating on a glassy film of water, she tentatively stretches out a hand.

Am I actually moving? Eerie! I can’t really tell in this utter darkness. Her unseen fingers trip lightly across the base of the shades.

Success! Both spool noiselessly upward.

Finally! She winces, blinking at the sudden light, before her vision clears.

There, three men, standing in a small white room, two wearing blue surgeon’s scrubs, the other, the tallest, a dark suit. No second bed, no moveable tables, no guest chairs anywhere. No outside windows, either. Stark illumination from flickering fluorescent fixtures cast demonic shadows across their faces. She shivers, unassured by the sight of the trio of apparent doctors.

What is this place? A recovery room? Suddenly their voices are clear.

"I spoke to her husband," says the one in the dark suit, fingering the stethoscope looped around his neck. "He said she occasionally took both amphetamines and tranquilizers."

He said that? It was just this one time, and he said…

"Damn," from the taller of the two, "that wasn’t on the admitting form. We could’ve rescheduled. Drugs and anesthetics always cause problems."

Problems? God, I knew it. Damned hospitals! Damn, damn, damn!

"We’re checking,” the third man says. “I’m not convinced tests will tell us anything that will do us much good in court, if it comes to that."

What are they talking about?

She is suddenly struggling to breathe, her heart pummeling her breast.

Oh Jesus, something did happen! Something bad!

Head spinning, her world lurches surreally askew. She shudders.

I’m so cold!  Her little lagoon churns from comfortable warmth into a bed of ice.

Something’s terribly wrong! Hospitals are supposed to fix things, but I had the same scary feeling while waiting for Daddy’s test results... and I was right!

Gotta find out what’s happened. Sucking in a ragged breath... worried about damaging her facial surgery... she grits her teeth before calling out.

"Hey!"

Don’t panic. They'll see me in a minute.

But they don't. Are they deaf?

"Over here!” Louder now, willing them to look at her.

"You, out there! Please help me."

The taller surgeon cocks his head and turns.

Thank God! He'll see me now.

He pauses, still as stone. Then his eyes flare wide, his jaw dropping. Snatching at the other doctor’s sleeve, he thrusts an almost accusing finger at her.

"Look," he shouts. "Look!”

“Her eyes! Her eyes! “They're open!"

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AUTHOR BIO

I was born and raised in Chicago and its suburbs, living there until the age of 39. I'm now a retired corporate President, life-long fishing enthusiast, and a dedicated author. As is my nature, I've worked hard to improve my writing craft, and have produced 3 award-winnning novels, as finalist and/or winners of several large writing contests. I've also become a world-class fly-fisherman and am an expert in fly-fishing for pike & musky, and wrote a book on that, as well.

I now live in sunny Florida, and split my time between writing, fishing & fine cabinet making, but my greatest love is creating riviting fiction. TRAPPED is my first novel.


 

The bear of back cover copy
otherwise known as the book blurb…

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I hate writing copy for query letters and back flaps.  Most writers do.  It requires us to boil the story we’ve spent the last who knows how long sweating out onto the page into a few short snappy sentences created to get you, the reader, to raise an eyebrow and open the front cover. 

I love cover art – it’s what gets me to pick up a book in a store, or scroll down the page to the description in the online venue.  But the kicker, at least for me, is the book description.  If this doesn’t strike my fancy, I don’t press the all important purchase button.  I might press the free sample button – and in the store, I might turn to the first page just because I know there’s an art to writing that jacket copy and it isn’t always a reflection of the writer’s skill.   However, when there is a good blurb to go along with a killer cover, I don’t sample or turn to the first page.

Nope. I go all in and take a chance on the book. 

I’ve found that most times, a well crafted blurb means a well crafted book - especially when the book is under the small press or indie framework.  In this framework, it’s usually the author’s responsibility to submit a blurb – or at least a first cut at it as opposed to the big publishing houses that have hired hands creating the cover copy.  

I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion, so how do you get from a 70,000 word novel to a paragraph or two summary, well it’s time to go back to school and the notion of a book report.  What’s the main theme?  I’m sure you could write a ten thousand word dissertation on your theme but that’s not going to catch a reader’s attention. 

Let’s take a look at the original blurb for my favorite all time book – The Stand:

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.


Now Mr. King could have chosen any number of key characters but he focused on the central theme of good and evil.  He goes a step further by leaving it just hanging out there, tickling our interest without hinting at the battle we know is inevitable when people take sides. 

Read the blurb aloud.  I dare you. 

Now tell me that didn’t give you goosebumps.  Even if you’ve never read The Stand – this is enough to get you to read the first few pages of that mammoth manuscript.

As an editor, if this blurb passed over my desk, I would be compelled to stop and re-read it, relish the unspoken poetry of it and of course, I’d ask for the full manuscript. Not because this is Stephen King, but because he gave me just enough to tickle that spot. That spot that demands attention, demands to be scratched.  Just enough for me to have to know what happens next.

Incredible power and that’s exactly what you should strive for in writing the back cover copy, but don’t stop there, the book has to deliver the promise you make in the blurb, so make sure your prose are just as sharp and satisfying. 

Thanks for swinging into this stop on my blog tour and I hope you'll find my blurb for Night Hawk one that tickles your fancy!

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Until next time,

Ciao.

JET



Book Review

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This was a hard book for me to review.  For the most part, I enjoyed reading it, I think it is worth reading, but I couldn't honestly remember any specific tidbits that really stood out to me after the fact.  That being said, the story was fast paced, action packed, and entertaining.  

I found the use of first person point of view for two different characters at times jarring and, with the duration of some of the chapters in each character's POV, sometimes hard to get into (it takes a little bit to reset to thinking that the "I" character is no longer who you think it is), which might have led to the above mentioned lack of tidbits (for me, I guess it was kind of liking switching between English and Spanish each chapter - I'd have to re-immerse myself each time).  I finished the book quickly, so any issues with editing or style didn't slow me down, which I generally use as a guide of whether the editing was adequate.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, was immersed in the plot and the character's plights for most of the day.  I enjoyed the characters and Michael was pretty complex, if a little frustrating (but the best characters always are).  It was a fun little story to cuddle up on the couch with. 


Book Description:

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author:

J.E. Taylor is a writer, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order.  She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:

“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes a more than a dozen published novels along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within eXcessica anthologies.

In addition to being co-owner of Novel Concept Publishing

(www.novelconceptpublishing), Ms. Taylor also moonlights as a Senior Editor of Allegory (www.allegoryezine.com), an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She has been known to edit a book or two and also offers her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine. 

Visit her at www.jetaylor75.com

https://www.facebook.com/JETaylor

https://twitter.com/JETaylor75

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153969.J_E_Taylor

http://www.amazon.com/J.E.-Taylor/e/B003FER8M6/